Henry Bowers. Birdie Bower’s was born in Scotland to a sea-going father and the first indication that his destiny lay in the polar regions came when he was 7 when he sent the following note; ‘Dear Eskimo, please write and tell me about your land, I wish to go there one day’. He was a navy man and impressed everyone he met, he was an exceptional in planning and logistics but it was his constant cheerfulness and character that made people warm to his nature. He went on the ‘winter journey’ withWilson and Cherry-Garrard and Scott was confident in Bowers above all with perhaps the exception of Wilson. Bower’s never disappointed Scott and was a loyal follower of his leader and his religious belief.
November 17th 1911. On a good surface the spread out teams make good progress covering 13miles. The horses ‘did very well’ with the new weights. They notice ice forms on the runner of Christopher’s sledge making pulling even harder. The weakness of the ‘breeding’ of the horses is showing but the ‘crocks’ have done well and it is hard to say how far they will go on. There was a cold wind and temperatures were as low as -18. The temperature is much better behind the snow walls and the animals are ‘snug’ there.
Commentary. Bower’s allows another side of Scott’s leadership ability to be explored. Initially Bowers was not responsible for the supplies and logistics but his ability and performance made Scott take the decision to change roles and place Bower’s in charge of them. Scott knew that others would be disappointed in his decision and he would be required to handle this ‘talent management’ dilemma. But Scott was clear, he placed the right man in the right place at the right time for the task in hand. It could be argued that this particular decision for Scott was straightforward and that other more complex talent management challenges would not be handled as decisively.
Bowers is second from left – image from Wikimedia Commons